Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp defends Man Utd’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over Leicester fury | Football | Sport


Many Liverpool supporters were left furious by United’s 2-1 Old Trafford defeat to Leicester because Solskjaer made 10 changes to his team.

Mason Greenwood was the only player to keep his place in the starting eleven from the previous Premier League win over Aston Villa two days prior.

Yet Klopp says he completely understands why Solskjaer made so many changes, despite Leicester recording a dominant and deserved victory which hurts his own team.

However, the German did hit out at the Premier League’s fixture scheduling for leaving United with three games in such a short space of time.

He thought the United vs Liverpool game might be rearranged for this coming Sunday, which would have meant the Merseyside outfit’s clash with West Brom – which will go ahead on that day as normal – being moved to this midweek.

Instead, the Red Devils were handed a hectic turnaround which prompted Solskjaer to make sweeping changes to his XI, but Klopp refused to criticise the United manager’s decision-making ahead of their Old Trafford meeting on Thursday (8.15pm kick-off).

He said: “It was the line-up I expected. Not exactly but I knew he had to make these changes. They played Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.

“I’ve said it 500 times, with all the things that happened and the protest in Manchester that lead to that situation, to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday is a crime. It is. It’s not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players.

“My question was to myself, would I have done the same? Yes, you have to. You have to. We are late in the season. United went to the Europa League final, that means an awful lot of games.

“Now you get Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. That’s not possible. But the weekend off is a weekend off for United. They play now Thursday and have the weekend off.

“I’m not the guy doing the schedule, the fixture list, but when we thought how it could work out on the day the game got cancelled and we drove home on the bus.

“We made our fixtures and there was no Tuesday, Thursday game. We would have played all the games and moved one West Brom game. But that didn’t happen.

“The explanation from the Premier League was no other team should suffer because of the things that happened in Manchester. That didn’t work out pretty well. Obviously nobody else [suffered] but a little bit West Ham, a little bit Liverpool.

“But if we don’t go to the Champions League and don’t qualify for it, it’s not the fault of Solskjaer because of team selection or the Premier League, it’s our fault.

“But in this specific case, I think you could have done it differently. But you get more and more used to things barely going in your favour or in your direction and just accept it.”

Leicester’s win confirmed Manchester City as the 2020-21 Premier League champions and left Liverpool nine points behind the Foxes, now in third, having played two matches less.

A win for United against Leicester would have given Klopp’s charges the chance to go level on points with the FA Cup finalists, who face Chelsea and Tottenham in their final two top-flight games.

Solskjaer said: “My job is Man United and my concern is the Man United fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team.

“It is that we come together as one and show what Man United is.  There’ll be changes [vs Liverpool], of course, but many of the players that played against Leicester did really well, so they’re in contention as well.

“It’s about managing the squad now, building momentum and confidence, making sure we get enough points to get second and then going into the final confident.”

Liverpool need three points against their bitter rivals on Thursday night if they are to keep their hopes of Champions League qualification alive but have not won at Old Trafford since 2014.

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